An interview with the managing director and founder of Joint Operations, Richard Forster
Who are Joint Operations?
Joint Operations is an orthopaedic, woundcare and spinal business established in January 2015. Orthopaedics is the heartbeat of the company; we focus on providing surgeons with better options to treat cartilage, ligaments, alignment and meniscus in the lower limb and, where relevant, within extremities.
Our role can be summed up by the phrase ‘Joint Preservation’ – this is our daily mission and we have a strong presence in the field, representing many of the leading manufacturers.
What makes Joint Operations different?
We aim to help surgeons think and work differently by bringing emergent or niche technologies to the UK and Ireland.
Our model is usually to avoid direct competition in the core businesses of the orthopaedic blue chips. Instead, we represent the technologies that may be in their catalogues a decade from now.
Good examples where we make a difference include cartilage regeneration, meniscal augmentation, specialised allografts – all areas in which the surgical tool box has traditionally been lacking.
How did you put together your team at Joint Operations?
Given that many of our technologies treat previously under-served indications and require specialised surgical techniques, it’s important we provide the right level of education and support in and out of the theatre. As such we have an experienced team and a flat structure, so each individual contributes to the development of the business.
We are well resourced for our size; nine territories in orthopaedics and three covering spine and woundcare. I’m fortunate to have worked for a great company in Northstar Orthopaedics, where I met many of my current colleagues and suppliers so there’s a longer history to the business than our age suggests. We’re a close team kept fresh through the recent recruitment of some very able and experienced new colleagues.
The other key aspect to the company is the operations department in Swindon. Swindon has proven a great spot to base ourselves, historically there have been several excellent companies such as Biomet, Zimmer and Corin in the area. This enables us to recruit people from the local region who are already experienced in healthcare. We’ve also tried to give college leavers a good start in their career – last year we took on two apprentices who have been great additions to the team and will shortly take full-time positions. We’re continuing with this approach and will be employing our third apprentice this year.
What are the main challenges that Joint Operations face?
As with any company, our challenge is to bring the best technology at an affordable price. Often it’s a case of looking at the model in a different way – reducing the number of revision surgeries by preserving rather than replacing a joint saves a fortune for the NHS and makes a life-changing difference to the patient.
While a new company will always need investment to fund its growth, with the team we have in place, the loyalty of our partners and the strong support of our customers, I’m delighted with the progression of our company.
Please visit our website www.jointoperations.co.uk and, if you’re in Swindon for a surgical meeting, come for a chat!